Picture: SUPPLIED
Picture: SUPPLIED

Johannesburg — Christo Wiese, the former chairman of Steinhoff International Holdings NV, has cut his financial stake in the retailer by 70%, a move that may mean one of South Africa’s richest men is no longer the company’s biggest shareholder.

Wiese reduced his shares in Steinhoff, which is dealing with accounting irregularities, to 6.2% from 21%, according to a filing he made to the Netherlands’ Authority for the Financial Markets on Friday.

The Public Investment Corp., which manages state-worker pensions in South Africa, could become Steinhoff’s largest shareholder following Wiese’s action. At a hearing with South African lawmakers on Jan. 31, the PIC sought a review of the company’s voting pool arrangements. The pension manager also wants regulations covering large personal shareholdings, according to Chief Executive Officer Dan Matjila.

Steinhoff has been under pressure since it announced on December 5 that it had uncovered accounting irregularities. The company will have to restate its earnings statements for the 2017, 2016 and 2015 fiscal year. Steinhoff's shares crashed 80% in the two days following the announcement.

In an emailed response to questions, Steinhoff said Wiese had notified the company of his share disposal, adding that it isn’t able to comment on the reasons behind his action.

Bloomberg 

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